Vocabulary Basics

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Vocabulary list for Vocabulary Basics

by Judith Nadell, Beth Johnson, and Paul Langan, Townsend Press

(plus materials from my Intermediate Writing class at the University of Akron)

Class: Basic Writing (paragraphs) ● Instructor: Mr. Michael Krigline, MA

 The University of Akron       www.krigline.com

Scroll down for Great Paragraphs vocabulary and important concepts!

Click "refresh" in your browser to be sure that you load the most recent version of this page; I may change things before quiz/exam time.

(This list does not have words that my students won’t need to know for a quiz or test. I have added the italics comments. In class, I said to pay special attention to any words that have been on your vocabulary quizzes.)

Vocabulary list for Vocabulary Basics (I expect my students to know Chapters 1 to 8 before the first test.)


Unit 1 (Ch 1-6)

Chapter 1

agreement                     promise

cancel                           not do as planned

curious                          full of questions

fact                               something true

flexible                          able to bend

odor                              smell

prepare                         get ready

suggest                         offer an idea


Chapter 2

daily                             happening each day

entertain                        interest greatly

experience                    something that a person lives through

identify                          find out

negative                        bad

original                          fresh

produce                         make

tension                          worry


Chapter 3

attack                           hurt

conclusion                     last part

event                             important happening

humble                          not bragging

minor                            small

protect                          keep safe

talent                            skill

volunteer                       worker who is not paid


Chapter 4

accuse                          blame

claim                            say that it is true

embarrassed                 silly and ashamed

inspire                           make someone want to do something

pleasant                        nice

precious                        great in value

public                            open to all

unusual                         surprising


Chapter 5

benefit                           be helped

delay                            wait until later (usually passive)

emphasize                    show to be important

logical                           making sense

rival                               enemy

satisfy                           be enough for

tempt                            invite someone to do something bad

vacant                           not in use


Chapter 6

definite                          certain

fortunate                        lucky

leisure                           time off (normally an adj, so add __time)

motivated                      interested and excited

oppose                          are against

refer                              talk about

specific                         special

suspect                         believe


Vocabulary Basics Unit 2 (Ch 7-12)

Chapter 7

aware                            knowing

constant                        never-ending

devour                           eat quickly

discover                        find (especially, to find something

                                                that is new)

distressed                     upset

modern                         up-to-date

occasion                       special time

popular                          well-liked


Chapter 8

ability                            special power

create                           make

damage                         harm

failure                            something that doesn’t turn out well

glance                           look quickly

gratitude                        thanks

introduce                       meet someone for the first time

labor                             hard work


AFTER the first midterm:


Chapter 9

avoid                             keep away from

excuse                          reason

helpless                        not able to take care of oneself

include                          be made up of

intend                           plan     

normal                          usual

sociable                        friendly

struggle                         difficult time


Chapter 10

approach                       come near

damp                            a bit wet

ignore                           pay no attention to

loyal                             faithful

numerous                      lots of

previous                        earlier

require                          need

timid                             fearful


Chapter 11

capable                         having skill

careless                        not careful

furious                           angry

observe                         watch

opportunity                    chance

resist                            say no to

reverse                          turn around

tradition                         handed-down way of doing something


AFTER the second midterm: (But don't forget that the second exam may have vocabulary from chapters 1 to 11.)


Chapter 12

allow                             let

comfortable                   relaxed

distract                         take away attention

insulting                        hurtful

persist                          keep doing something

respect                         great liking

sensitive                        caring

wonder                          want to know


Chapter 13

amazed                         surprised

confident                       sure

donate                          give

effort                             hard work

locate                           find

purpose                         reason

sincere                          truthful

uncertain                       not sure


Chapter 14                   

disgust                          sicken

dismiss                         let leave

guarantee                      promise to fix something

ideal                             best

inspect                          look at carefully

opinion                          thought

prevent                          stop

resolve                          decide


Chapter 15

advice                           helpful idea

cautions                        careful

defeat                           beat

defect                           problem

impossible                     not able to happen

necessary                     needed

permit                           let

provide                          give


Chapter 16                   

arrange                         put in order

continue                        keep going

expert                           someone who knows a lot about


hollow                           empty

panic                            great fear

personal                        close to one’s heart

regret                            feel bad about

suppose                        think


Chapter 17

admit                            honestly tell

available                        easy to get

contribute                      give

dull                               not interesting

encourage                     give hope to

experiment                    try something new

intimate                         private

portion                          part


Chapter 18                   

compete                        try to win

contain                          have inside

depend                          rely on

effective                         good

envy                              wish to have the same as

gradual                          happening slowly

intense                          deep

involve                           bring in


END of vocabulary for this class (But don't forget that the third exam may have vocabulary from chapters 1 to 18.)


Unit 4 - Chapters 19 to 24

Chapter 19

alarm                            scare

collapse                        fall down

defend                           keep safe

grief                              sadness

modest                         not thinking too highly of oneself

relieved                         made less worried

similar                           alike

victim                            person who is harmed


Chapter 20

confusion                      feeling of not knowing what to do

decrease                       make less

distant                          not at all close

emerge                         come out

incident                         time of trouble

realize                           know

refuse                           decide not to

survive                           live through


Chapter 21

excess                          leftover

persuade                       get someone to do something

quarrel                          fight

reaction                         something that happens because of

                                                 something else

reveal                            tell

separate                        put apart

stubborn                        not wanting to do something

tremendous                   big


Chapter 22

disaster                         something that causes harm

fascinate                       interest greatly

generous                       willing to share

increase                        make greater

predict                          tell ahead of time

progress                        movement toward a goal

scarce                          few in number

tolerate                         let happen


Chapter 23

detail                            part

glare                             give an angry look

humor                           something funny

notice                           see

occupy                          live in

perform                         do

select                           pick out

weary                            needing rest

Chapter 24
                      speak strongly against
embrace                       put one’s arms around
to express                     to make feelings known
familiar                          often seen or heard
to imagine                     to picture in the mind
isolate                           to put by oneself
to support                      to show caring for
to unite                          to join together

Chapter 25
to admire                      to look up to
bold                             brave
comment                      something that is said
to develop                     to grow
to expect                     to believe something will happen
to insist                       to say very strongly
to pretend                    to make believe
a solution                    an answer

Chapter 26
appear                         look
attract                         cause to come near
common                     usual
conceal                      hide
enormous                   very large
irritate                        bother
mention                     talk about
surround                    be all around

Chapter 27
achieve                       reach
condition                    shape something is in
duty                           job
exhaust                      make tired
injury                         harm
major                         big
seldom                      not often
value                          worth

Chapter 28
advance                      move forward
consider                      think about
delicate                       hurt easily
grasp                          grab
interrupt                      stop for a short time
praise                         say good things about
request                       something that is asked for
succeed                     do well

Chapter 29
attempt                      try
courteous                  thoughtful
explore                      search
hopeless                   without hope
imitate                      copy
permanent                 long-lasting
recognize                  know from before
sufficient                   enough

Chapter 30
assist                        help
competent                  skillful
enemy                       someone who is hated
examine                     look at carefully
flaw                           something wrong
positive                      hopeful
sample                      little bit
urge                          strong wish

Great Paragraphs Vocabulary

Text: Great Writing 2: Great Paragraphs, by Keith S. Folse, April Muchmore-Vokoun and Elena Vestri Solomon, published by Heinle/CENGAGE Learning


Unit 1 (This list does not have words that my students won’t need to know for a quiz or test. I have added the italics comments.)


Braille (p 2)

blind                             not able to see

are made up of               consist of

a dot                             a small point

a bump                         a small, raised area

a fingertip                      the end of a finger

a pattern                       a design, a system

arrange                         to put in a special way or order

raised                           higher than the surrounding area

invent                            to create or make something original

yet                                but (in a surprising way)

effective                         useful, producing a good effect


An Easy Sandwich (p 4)

boil                               to cook in water at 212 degrees F (100 C)

ingredients                    parts that you need to make something

                                          (normally food)

at least                         the minimum number or amount of

                                          something that is required;

                                          that number or more

spread                          to move a substance over an area

                                          in many directions


My First Flight (p 7)

to board                        to get on a plane (or other form

                                          on transportation)

an aisle                         the row between seats (on a plane, bus,

                                          train, classroom, movie theater, etc)

sort of                           somewhat, rather

to turn                           to change, become

to be relieved:                the feeling when a person no longer

                                          feels pressure about something

destination                    the final place that you are traveling to

over                              more than

a detail                          a fact about something


Kids and Pets (p 10)

to allow                         to permit, let

a sense of                     a feeling of

compassionate              with strong feelings of caring or

                                          wanting to help

on the other hand           an expression used for an opposite

                                          or very different reason

(the first reason starts with “on one hand” and the opposite reason starts with “on the other hand”)

require                          to need, must have

a number of                   several

significant                      important; especially meaningful

                                          or influential


Student Use of Computers (p 13)

fix                                 to repair

let                                 to allow, permit

effort                             hard work, trying

obtain                           to get, take


Simon Bolivar (p 14)

main                             principal, the most important

a nickname                   a short name that people use in place

                                          of a longer name

a feat                            an accomplishment

although                        contrast between two ideas; but


The State of South Carolina (p 15)

manufacture                  to make, produce

a crop                           a plant that is grown for money

cotton                           a white fiber that is used to make clothing

involve                           to have to do with, be connected with

fought                           past participle form of the verb “to fight”

distinct                          different, unique


Jim Thorpe’s Final Victory (p 16)

both                              two

reverse                          to change to the opposite position

a ruling                          a decision, especially one that is made

                                          by a judge or court

an achievement              something special that a person is able

                                          to accomplish or do


In class vocabulary:

handout                        a paper with important information—

                                          e.g., from your teacher

handy                           close at hand

entry                             a single item that is part of many more

vague                            too general or unclear

criticism                        opinions that point out problems, often

                                          without caring about others’ feelings

constructive criticism      opinions that point out problems

                                          in a helpful way

contraction                    a shorter, informal way to write some

                                           words or word pairs

(e.g., hadn’t is the contraction for “had not”; we’re = we are; int’l = international)

independent clause        part of a sentence that includes a subject

                                          and verb, and that could stand alone

                                          as a sentence if other words were

                                          taken away

dependent clause           a clause that gives information about the

                                          main clause but that can not stand

                                          alone as a sentence

support                         it means to prove something, agree with an

                                          idea, or to hold something up
referent                         the specific noun that a pronoun refers you

                                          back to

awkward                        unnatural behavior

Scroll down for and important concepts we talked about in class

Concepts I said to pay extra attention to:

(“short answer” and other questions may come from these concepts)


First Exam

p 2. What are four ways that we show emphasis in English writing? (1) bold type (2) italics (3) underlining (4) ALL CAPS

p 3. What are two common features used in paragraphs that explain or describe something? (1) repetition (2) simple present tense verbs

p 8 (and quote from Yale). What common English words are not normally found in academic writing? I/me/my/our/we/us

p 9. What are the four features of a paragraph? (1) a topic sentence (2) all sentences are about one topic (3) the first line is indented (4) the last sentence brings the paragraph to a logical conclusion

p 9. What does a topic sentence do? It states the main idea

p 9 and 47. What do we mean by “the controlling ideas” of a paragraph? These are the words or phrases found in a topic sentence, which we can find details about in the paragraph’s body. The “controlling ideas” guide the flow of ideas in the paragraph.

p 10. What does “indented” mean? It means that the first sentence of a paragraph has been moved to the right about half an inch (one tab stop); the space is called an “indentation.”

p 10 and my handout. If both the TS and Con mention the topic and the controlling ideas, how are they different?  A paragraph’s TS has a general preview of the support, but the conclusion actually mentions the support ideas. You should also choose similar words, not the same words, to express main ideas in the TS and Con. The best conclusions also have an implication.

p 10 and my handout. What is an implication? a suggestion, an opinion, or a prediction, related to the topic; this answers the reader’s question: “So what? So what? What does this have to do with me?”

p 23 and 56. When we talk about English grammar, what is a “fragment”? a sentence without a verb or subject; an incomplete sentence

p 32. What is the first step in writing a good paragraph? thinking (not writing)

p 37. What common mistake do English-learners make, related to subject-verb agreement? They make the verb agree with the “nearest noun” (e.g., a noun in a prepositional phrase) instead of agreeing with that verb’s “grammatical subject.”

p 47. What are the five features of a good topic sentence? (1) it controls or guides the whole paragraph (2) it is not a general fact that everyone accepts as true (3) it is specific (4) it is not too specific (leaving the writer nothing else to say) (5) it has controlling ideas

p 57. What is a comma splice? two or more independent clauses connected with a comma.

p 57. What are some ways to fix a comma splice? (1) make two separate sentences (2) add a connecting word [FANBOYS] (3) rewrite, combining the most important words into one sentence

p 228-234. You should understand basic capitalization rules and “end punctuation.” (I won’t ask you to list them, but you will have to use them)

p 232. What does FANBOYS mean? It reminds us of the list of combining words (coordinating conjunctions): for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so.



p 218ff. What are the seven steps of the writing process? (you should be able to list these from memory, with “Title case” capitalization as shown below—see page 228 #5)

1. Thoughtfully Choose a Topic

2. Brainstorm

3. Outline

4. Write the First Draft

5. Get Feedback from a Peer

6. Revise the First Draft

7. Proofread the Final Draft


Be sure you understand the Word Association exercises on p 26, 40 and 60.


Second Exam

Day 29 lecture:  People in different cultures “support” ideas in different ways. In Asia, you start talking about an idea in general terms, and “circle around” to make your point. In the Middle East, classic literature uses "mirror-like repetition" to build support. The same idea is said in two different ways, and then you take the writer to another point. In the west, in academic literature writers "say it three times" like this: (Topic Sentence--TS) Tell readers what you are going to say. (Body) Support it with facts. (Conclusion) Then remind them what you said.

Important Review: p 47. A paragraph’s TS tells the reader what to expect, is not a general fact, IS specific but not too specific, and has controlling ideas.

      --To make it easy for you (as beginning writers), choose support that is closely related. See your handout from 2/16/11, which said:

          a. You should choose related support points (let every idea share something: more… or healthy… or positive…).

          b. A paragraph’s TS has a general preview of the support (e.g., “four benefits” or “several healthy ways”). However, the conclusion actually mentions the support ideas (e.g., “Exercise makes your life more healthy and happy, and less tired and stressful.”).

      --The easiest way to write a good TS is to use a number plus a shared adjective (e.g., four positive features, three healthy benefits, four important differences, two effective ways.).

      --To get ideas for “good support”, create a brainstorm chart, group ideas together, and then develop the idea you can write the most about (in English). Ask yourself the “W” questions (who, what, when…).

p 67. Six kinds of supporting sentences  (you should be able to list these from memory, with “Title case” capitalization as shown below—see page 228 #5; also, if I give you a topic, you should be able to write several types of “support sentences.” Possible topics would be anything you’ve had to write about in your journal.

          1. Explain

          2. Describe

          3. Give Reasons

          4. Give Facts

          5. Give Examples

          6. Define

p 69, Activity 5. Here are some sample answers, but you can have MANY different answers.

2. Math is a part of almost everyone’s life in three important ways. How is math in everyone’s life? What do we all calculate? (calculate money, calculate time, calculate cooking measurements)

3. A best friend has three essential qualities. What are the essential qualities of a friend? How are friends consistently/always helpful? [always honest (even when it hurts), always faithful (in good and bad times), always available [never says “I’m too busy to talk”])

4. When you are traveling, you can find the best restaurants by looking for three things. How do you find the best restaurant? How do we know it is popular? [popular with reviewers in the newspaper, popular with local people (as seen by the number of cars in the parking lot), popular with the local police officers (look for a squad car)]

5. Ping Pong is a popular sport in China for two reasons. Make makes Ping Pong popular? What is easy about it? [easy to find a partner (lots of people can do it), easy to play (no great training needed, not much special equipment)]

Day 34 lecture:

--Be careful when using pronouns. Don’t make your reader guess what you mean! A good writer will express or rephrase ideas so that the referents are clear.

--Prepositions and prepositional phrases tell us extra information. Common English prepositions include in, from, on, at, for, over, under, beside, of, with, and to (but not if “to” is part of a verb). As you can see, many of these words refer to a direction or relationship.

--Helpful rule: In general, we do things in a place or a month, on a date (or on an “area” like a campus or football field), and during a period of time. Therefore, this is wrong: “I studied in my summer vacation.” Better: I studied during my summer vacation. Other good examples: I slept during lunchtime. I worked in July. My friend lives in Stow. My hometown is North Canton, in Ohio. I graduated on May 25. Do you live on campus or in an apartment?

Day 35 & 36 lectures:

Our textbook presents four kinds of concluding sentences (see page 76). Almost all conclusions should repeat (or “to say again”) the main idea and summarize the main support in your paragraph. This is called “restatement.” In addition, good conclusions have an implication; that is, they offer a suggestion (advice), an opinion (my view or belief), or a prediction (guess about the future) related to the topic.

The best way to create a good conclusion is to first outline the paragraph (so you can see the support points clearly), find any relationships between the support points (such as shared words or ideas: more… or healthy… or positive…), and then write your conclusion.


The second exam should be like the first exam, but will be only 4 pages. You may also have to do an exercise like those in Unit 4, and/or you may have to create a topic sentence and conclusion (based on an outline I give you). WATCH YOUR TIME, skip things that are hard for you, and come back later (e.g., don’t leave a 25-point “vocabulary” page blank because you spent too much time writing a 5-point conclusion). I’ll say more on Monday, after I create the test. As I told you in class, review all vocabulary from the start of this class to the end of “week 8” (i.e., up to and including Chapter 11 in the purple book). There is no “spelling” section on the exam, but you will have to “match” or “use” the terms. You will not have “short answer” questions about the main concepts you studied before the first exam (unless I’ve told you otherwise).


You may see items from the Word Association and Using Collocations exercises on or near pages 26, 40, 60, & 80.


Third/Final Exam

Important note: During this course, I normally used capital letters for important things like Topic Sentence, Thesis Statement and Conclusion (to emphasize that they are important, and so that I could abbreviate “Topic Sentence” as “TS”). However, these are not really formal nouns, and you will not see them capitalized in most books. --M Krigline


Mar 29 handout: Three questions will help you to know which article to use, if any: (1) What kind of noun is it: proper or regular? (2) Does the noun refer to something specific or general? (3) Is the noun countable (singular or plural) or uncountable?

p 94. (This could be True/False or “multiple choice”; you don’t have to know the other rules on page 94.) Some of the basic rules of “article use” are: (1) use an article with singular count nouns, (2) in general, do not use the with noncount nouns, (3) use the when you refer to a word a second or subsequent time, (4) use the when you refer to something specific.

p 198 Review:

a. What are the four features of a paragraph? (1) a topic sentence (2) all sentences are about one topic (3) the first line is indented (4) the last sentence brings the paragraph to a logical conclusion

b. What does a topic sentence do? It states the main idea


Page 199 told us the FOUR STEPS in the process of writing a draft: (You should be able to list these from memory. Notice that they are not capitalized. You don’t have to remember the words in parentheses.)

A. developing ideas (brainstorming)

B. creating the topic sentence (narrowing the topic)

C. writing supporting sentences (developing the ideas)

D. writing concluding sentences (ending the paragraph)


p 199. What is an essay? a collection of paragraphs that presents facts, opinions, and ideas on a topic.

p 200. How are essays similar to paragraphs? They both discuss one topic. Both use similar organizational elements (to help the reader understand the information). Both have supporting and concluding elements. Both have an introduction, a body, and a conclusion.

p 200. What are the two main differences between an essay and a paragraph? the length, and scope of information (scope means the number of details)

p 204. The Thesis Statement of an essay is (1) similar to the Topic Sentence of a paragraph, (2) tells the reader what the essay is about, (3) shows how the essay will be organized, (4) is usually the last sentence in the introduction paragraph.

April 4 handout--An essay’s first sentence is a “hook,” not a Topic Sentence. This hook gets the reader interested and builds up to the Thesis Statement of the essay. The hook is often a story or fact (related to the topic!).

p 205 (and lectures)--Writing body paragraphs. Your essay needs two or three big support ideas; each will be a separate “body paragraph.” Each “body paragraph” has a Topic Sentence, which states the topic and previews the support. Each “body paragraph” will have two or three “support points” (such as an example or detail related to the idea). On the ASSET, you want to write three to five sentences for each body paragraph.

April 4 handout--Writing conclusions. Your “conclusion paragraph” restates your Thesis, often in the second or last sentence. In this “Restated Thesis” you need to refer to the main idea of each support-paragraph TS (Topic Sentence). The essay then ends with an implication. Be sure the “Restated Thesis” and the last sentence restates the topic (i.e., don’t just use a pronoun).

p 114. FANBOYS stands for the six connecting words for, and, nor, but, or, yet and so.


Paragraph Types (p 99)

definition paragraph

explains what something is

definition paragraph

gives facts, details, and examples to make the definition clear to the reader

process analysis paragraph

explains or presents facts and details in chronological order

process analysis paragraph

ends with a specified result or advice

descriptive paragraph

tells how something or someone looks or feels

descriptive paragraph

creates a sensory image in the reader’s mind

opinion paragraph

expresses the writer’s preferences or point of view

opinion paragraph

is often about a controversial issue (i.e., an issue that has two sides and little agreement)


What kind of phrase or clause is it? (p 114-115)

students who are in charge of

adjective clause

homework that Mark wrote

adjective clause

students in the dorm

prepositional phrase

homework on my computer

prepositional phrase


You should know the vocabulary in the purple book, chapters 1 to 18. In the green book, you may see items from the Using Collocations exercises on or near pages 119, 133, 160 and 214.


In class vocabulary:

variety: [NCN-non-count noun] the differences that make a paragraph (or anything) interesting; things that are similar but not the same (p 204)

synonyms: [c-countable] two words with nearly the same meaning (p 204)

avoid: keep away from (ch 9 in Vocabulary Basics)

to define: to state the meaning of a word or to describe the basic qualities of something (p 99)

chronological: arranged by time (p 121)

sensory: related to the five senses--hearing, taste, touch, sight and smell (p 135)

plagiarism: using someone else’s words as if they were your own words; stealing another person’s words (p 107)

to cite: to show in a formal way; to tell the source of information (p 107)

standardized test: something that measures ability or knowledge the same way for a large number of people (such as the SAT, ACT, TOEFL or ASSET) (p 124)

neutral: not positive or negative; not good or bad

symbol: a representation; something that reminds us of a great or famous thing/place (p 156)

connotation: the emotional meaning of a word; the meaning beyond the definition (p 147)

writing prompt: the question you answer when you write an essay on a test



click here to see my "General notes about writing an essay on a standardized test" (4/22/11 lecture)


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